There is no magical checklist to create a special emotional bond or “secure attachment” with your child.
Imagine if you’re a new parent and are told there’s a certain checklist to create healthy attachment with your child.
A checklist that is necessary for them to feel loved, have a higher IQ, be healthier, and better behaved. A checklist that says that skin-to-skin must happen immediately, that breastfeeding is the only way to raise a healthy child, that sleep-training isn’t being attune to your baby’s needs, that baby wearing and keeping your child close is the most ideal.
What if the scenario is more like this?
- They are whisked away to the NICU and skin-to-skin doesn’t happen for 12 hours.
- Breastfeeding just wasn’t what was best for you and you chose to give formula.
- You practice pausing and don’t always react immediately when your baby or child cries.
- You sleep-train your baby.
- You need a break and want to go away for a few hours for your mental health.
- Baby-wearing isn’t something you or your baby enjoy like you thought you would.
This was me.
Through my own experience as a mother and my expertise in child development, I have learned so much about bonding.
There isn’t a checklist.
I learned that it can be everything, some, or nothing as I mentioned above. It is so unique and special to each caregiver and a child.
Sometimes taking a BREAK from your child helps you bond with them better.
In order to bond, YOUR mental health matters, too.
So if you’re worried about bonding with your child, remember that the most important thing that matters is you–what makes you happy as a parent? What brings you joy? What parenting style feels right to you? Find a style that works for you rather than fitting yourself into a subscribed style.
Ryaan and I were separated for a week when he was born due to birth trauma complications. Through my grief, I often said, “How can we be apart? He won’t know me!”
Let me tell you something: Throughout the last two years our bond is the most special thing in the world.
The way he feels confident to explore the world, but knows he is safe and supported by us is the goal of secure attachment.
Secure attachment is not some magic checklist that you have to check off. Don’t feel the pressure to fulfill a checklist because you may miss out on actually bonding with your child!